Sunday 9 December 2007

New Year's Eve

Clearly, I am jumping the gun. All the magazines are featuring Christmas cooking and I am sidestepping that and heading straight to New Year's Eve. You see, we are going away for Christmas, so I will have little or no say in what we eat for Christmas. But we are back late on the 29th and intend to stay home and eat something delicious to celebrate the New Year.

The tricky thing is, of course, that we will be left with very little time to shop for ingredients. So my feeling is that I order something fab over the internet and have it delivered before we go away, stick it in the deepfreeze and come home with nothing to worry about other than fresh veg and post-holiday laundry. My husband thinks that we will discover an amazing specialty on our holiday and will want to reproduce it for NYE, but I am not convinced.

Someone was telling me about smoked swordfish carpaccio, that they had in Venice. I think that would make a heavenly starter, simply with lemon and olive oil and maybe a little rocket. You can get smoked swordfish from Derimon Smokery in Wales, which would be quite an easy option. On the other hand, they also do smoked goose breasts, so I could replicate the smoked goose carpaccio I had in Florence... but I think seafood in some form would be a better starter. I'd love potted shrimps of course, but bizarrely my husband doesn't adore them the way I do. Either swordfish or shrimps would be lovely with champagne.

As the main event, I was vacillating between the Heal Farm multiple gamebird roast and a stuffed whole pheasant from Donald Russell, but I seem to have wavered for too long and the game bird roast is no longer on the Heal Farm site. So pheasant it will be! I think with puy lentils and chestnuts, and buttered cabbage on the side. My husband put in a vote for a roast rack of venison, so I might order one of them as well, to leave options open.

For pudding I am in no real doubt. The December Delicious magazine contains the recipe for the gorgeous muscat caramel custard I had at 32 Great Queen St a couple of months ago, so I intend to make that, with whatever pudding wine we intend to have with it. I might buy one of the intense Australian liqueur muscats, which would really sing with the dark caramel. As a slightly lighter option though, I am toying with the idea of making a muscat pannacotta using the method I learned in Florence instead. But the texture of the caramel custard was so good it would be a shame to miss it.

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